Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Painting  - Timur, Babur and Humayun

Timur, Babur and Humayun

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1630 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Govardhan (painted by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Timur (1336–1405), the Central Asian ruler from whom the Mughals were descended, sits in the centre of this allegorical painting. He hands the imperial crown to the founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur (r.1526–1530), who is seated to his right. On his left is Babur’s son Humayun, the second Mughal emperor (r.1530–1540 and 1544–1545), who briefly lost the throne and was forced into exile in Iran. All are seated on jewelled thrones beneath parasols, an emblem of royalty. Before them stand their chief ministers, all identified in minuscule Persian inscriptions: on the right is Bayram Khan, with Mirza Shah Rukh and Mirza Rustam in the middle and on the left respectively.

An attribution in black ink on the lower border notes that the painting was done by Govardhan, an artist of the imperial Mughal workshop during the reigns of Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). It may have been done to mark Shah Jahan's accession. It came from a group of paintings now divided between the V&A and the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, popularly known as the ‘Minto Album’ from its association with a former owner, Lord Minto. A companion painting from the same album now in the Chester Beatty Library depicts Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the immediate successors of Babur and Humayun, similarly enthroned.

Physical description

Painting in opaque watercolour and gold on paper with borders painted with scrolling ornament of leaves and flowers in gold. Timur sits in a jewelled throne beneath a canopy at the centre, handing the Timurid crown to Babur on his right, watched by Babur's son and successor Humayun on his left, both of whom have similarly opulent thrones. Their respective chief ministers stand before them. All are identified by minute inscriptions in Persian.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


ca. 1630 (made)


Govardhan (painted by)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

[1] 'amal-e govardhan'

[2] The carmine inscriptions near the heads of the rulers identify them:
[a] shabih-e hazrat-e babur padshah
[b] shabih-e hazrat-e saheb qiran, referring to Timur
[c] shabih-e hazrat-e humayun padshah

[1] 'Work of Govardhan'
[2 The carmine inscriptions near the heads of the rulers identify them:]
[a] likeness of His Highness Babur padshah
[b] likeness of His Highness the Lord of the (Second) Conjunction (ie Timur)
[c] likeness of His Highness Humayun padshah

[3 gold inscriptions identify their Chief Ministers. From right to left:]
[a] Bayram Khan[on his turban]
[b] Mirza Shah Rukh [on his belt]
[c] Mirza Rustam [on the panel of the platform pedestal, next to his stick]
[1] Persian inscription in black ink, in the border beneath the painting


Height: 29.5 cm painting only, Width: 20.4 cm painting only, Height: 38.5 cm page, Width: 26.1 cm page

Object history note

The folio is from a group of paintings acquired at auction in 1925 where they were sold as "The Minto Album" and subsequently divided between the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and the V&A.

Descriptive line

Allegorical painting of the Central Asian ruler Timur, with the Mughal emperors Babur and Humayan, all enthroned and beneath a red canopy, with their respective chief ministers standing before them; opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, ca. 1630

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224, p.58/59, no.40.

Jaffer, A. Furniture from British India and Ceylon: a catalogue of the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001. ISBN 1 85177 318 5.p.108, fig.35.

Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The art of the book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 112, p. 150
p. 212, Cat. 24
Stronge, S. (Ed.) "The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms", V&A, 1999
S. Stronge, " Thrones of the Mughal Emperors of Hindustan", Jewellery Studies, vol. 10, London, 2004, p. 59, fig. 9.
Robert Skelton, Cat. no. 52, p. 41
The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3
p. 15
Hats from India / Rosemary Crill. [London]: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985 Number: 0948107308
pl. 112, p. 150
STRONGE, Susan. Painting for the Mughal Emperor: The Art of the Book 1560 – 1660 London : V&A Publications, 2002. 192p, ill. ISBN 1 85177 358 4.


Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper



Subjects depicted

Crown; Throne; Rulers


Paintings; Royalty; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.